Red-zone 'plagued' by burglaries

DAVID CLARKSON
Last updated 15:54 28/03/2014
bourbon plum sauce
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PLUM SAUCE: The bottle of plum sauce found in Dylan James Morehu's stolen get-away vehicle.

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Red-zone burglars were "picking over the carcass of what's left of our city", said a judge as he jailed an offender for 25 months.

Judge Raoul Neave told Dylan James Morehu - who earned the title of "plum sauce burglar" after his arrest last year - that red-zone burglaries had become an absolute plague.

"It's disgraceful behaviour. They are picking over the carcass of what's left of our city," he said as he imposed the jail term, a year's driving ban on two driving-while-disqualified charges, a reparation order for $360 for one burglary, and confiscation of a car.

The burglaries by Morehu required the courts to send out a strong message, he said.

The 34-year-old was found guilty of the burglary, in which a bottle that appeared to be Jim Beam bourbon was taken, at a defended hearing before Christchurch District Court Judge Raoul Neave on Wednesday.

It turned out the bourbon bottle actually contained homemade plum sauce.

The court was told that Morehu was badly bitten on the leg by a police dog at the time he was arrested, after crashing a car in Churchill St, central Christchurch, on November 11.

The car had been unlawfully taken from Ashburton a few days earler, and Morehu was charged with taking the car, a theft, and for the Linwood burglary after groceries and electronic items - and the plum sauce - were found in the crashed car.  

Morehu had already pleaded guilty to other burglary and disqualified driving charges and was awaiting sentence today, so everything was dealt with together.

Defence counsel Paul Norcross said Morehu's problems arose from "a raging drug addiction prior to his remand in custody".

He asked the judge to focus on rehabilitation and Morehu's mental health issues.

Morehu said he now wanted to stay "clean" of drugs, and get work.

The dog bite injuries he received at the time of his arrest were "quite horrific", according to Norcross, who had seen him. He had needed surgery and had spent two days in hospital before his remand in custody.

One of Morehu's burglaries had been at a red-zone property where he was taking copper to get money for food and drugs.

Judge Neave said burglaries of red-zone properties had become "an absolute plague".

Morehu had been burglarising to fuel his drug addiction.

He noted he had 10 previous convictions for burglary, possession of tools for burglary, or being found unlawfully in yards.

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He imposed a jail term of just over two years which meant the Parole Board would be able to manage Morehu's release and reintegration into the community.

He urged the authorities to ensure Morehu had the treatment and counselling he needed.

- The Press

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